According to the BBC’s ‘Brain Sex‘ quiz, my brain is exactly half boy, half girl, i.e. on-balance for skills that are traditionally male (spatial, logic) and traditionally female (emotion, intuition).
It’s a weird kind of thought.
Thankfully they explain it a bit as you go through each task: in essence, the majority of the differences between male and female brains are thought to be due to hormone differences and how they affect the development of the brain.
For example, men generally outperform women at “spatial tasks”, (although many women also score extremely well), and one theory suggests that exposure to higher levels of testosterone before birth gives men an added advantage because testosterone may stimulate the development of the right hemisphere of the brain – the side that contributes most to spatial awareness.
Females, on the other hand, tend to outperform men on tasks about “object position” (e.g. “has anyone seen the car keys?”), and some scientists think that women’s oestrogen levels make them much better at noticing details of their environment and spotting changes.
This perhaps also explains why women tend to perform better at ‘The Reading The Mind In The Eyes’ test devised by Simon Baron Cohen (Sacha Baron Cohen cousin!) which measures how well men and women display empathy towards others.
The amount of testosterone we are exposed to in the womb is also thought to influence the growth of our ring fingers. This theory may explain why men’s ring fingers are often longer than their index fingers. The average male ratio is .96. On average, women’s index and ring fingers are more or less of equal length, with a ratio of around 1.00. There is even some evidence that our finger ratio can be affected by the number of older brothers we have!
Want to know which side of your brain is more dominant?
What kinds of faces you find attractive and why?
Take the quiz now and rate your own brain’s gender at bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody